Blog

Hi again guys!

Hello everyone!  I’ve migrated this site over to WordPress…well, “migrated” is not the right word, more like “recreated”, but I’m hopeful this will be a good change.  It’s already SO much more customizable, and you know as a designer and as someone who’s particular about how things look, I’m ALL about customizable!

I’ve imported all my old posts from my art blog on Blogger, although I couldn’t bring over the ones from my old Weebly site.  No big loss.  And I’ll be posting more here as I shift my focus over to the art business in the new year!

See you guys again soon!  Keeping this post short for today, but I’ll be back!

I might be insane.

Yes, I might have just lost my tiny little mind…because I agreed to do an art festival next Saturday.  And yes, my son is only just about to be 7 months old this week.  Yeah…I might be crazy.

Back on the show train…
But!  It’s a new show, I think this is their first one, and I’m getting in on the ground floor of it, so it’s super exciting.  It’s called Off 22nd, it’s a home/yard show, and it’s looking like it’s going to be really cool.  They plan to do more, maybe partnering with local businesses to have art shows in front of coffee shops and places like that…so this could be the start of something great!
The usual show prep insanity is a little different with a baby…

…which means it pretty much takes place during his naps. 😛 Fortunately those are still pretty frequent (he’s taking one right now in his stroller!  The excitement of walking around and Mom taking pictures of palo verde knocked him out).  I got to make a couple new pieces for this show (the show organizer mentioned liking my painted boxes, so I made some more of those), but not as many as I normally would have back in the old days B.B. (before baby).  I’m sure this will change again in a couple years A.P. (after preschool).

I debated about whether to take the baby to the show with me…but I would have still needed someone else to come help me with him if he got bored and cranky.  And then there was the problem of fitting the show stuff AND baby stuff in the car…something I might just not be able to do.  So he’s staying home.  Fortunately it’s a one-day show for six hours, so I won’t be away for too long.
Here are the new boxes I’m bringing…
Rainbow mandala box

red “double happiness” box
As much as I would have liked to have time to make more, I’m just glad I managed to get these done, honestly!
I still have to decide on what else I’m bringing, pack everything up, buy a folding chair and a cash bag (I gave my other one to my mom’s business), maybe buy another smaller folding table, a receipt book, hope that my new Square reader comes in time…still lots more to do.  But it’ll be exciting!

A rare two-handed day!

I am gradually coming to terms with the fact that my productivity, art-wise, will just be low for a while.  And that’s okay.  Of course, if I get commissions I will still fulfill them in a good amount of time, but in terms of just day-to-day doing art stuff…yeah, I won’t be setting any “do two paintings or more a month!  Paint a stone a day!” type goals for a long time.

Except for that magical time called Babysitting Day.  And then I can do anything for a few hours!

These will be coming to Etsy one day…as soon as I get enough time to take pictures of these skull necklaces on some other surface than my desk…
 
I’m really lucky to have a bunch of baby-minders that I trust…mostly family, mostly the grandparents, but one particular non-family friend comes every week or every other week so that I can have a break.  Of course, last week I had to use that break to get my tax papers together (yay…), but this week, and the week before that, I got to use that time for ART.

I hadn’t painted a stone in probably a year…it kinda shows, huh?

I’m trying to simplify my future stone- and box- and pendant-painting operations…maybe keep it to two or three colors, and abstract mandalas.  Those seem to be more popular anyway.  I painted a bunch of stones in bright, springy colors, and I’m going to make plain white mandalas on them, like this one.  I really like the look of this.  I’m also going to experiment with painting the natural stones, without putting a color down first.  Y’know, whenever I have time. 😛
And I finally finished this painting, which I’m pretty sure I had started before my son was BORN.
I had originally painted this painting in the dearly departed Brushes app on my phone, where it looked like this…
And I really liked it, so I wanted to make it a real no-kidding painting on canvas.  I like the results!  I have other pieces I did in Brushes (and come on, someone make a version for that that works with the current IOS, already!) that I want to convert into acrylic someday too.  I wish I had more time to paint with acrylics these days.
I have some more digital pieces lined up, too.  Now these, I can do with a baby on my lap!  Here’s a preview…just the sketch so far:

Not necessarily for Easter, but just because I like rabbits and I thought this would look cool. 🙂
So that’s my productivity as of late…wedged in between figuring out teething remedies, watching old episodes of Downton Abbey (I just finished Season 2, nobody tell me what happens!), and scheduling repairs at our house and our rental house (fun…).  Um…hashtag #blessed?  Actually, yeah…my life is different than it was two years ago, ambition-wise and art-output-wise, but it’s pretty darn good.

Stuff I needed, that maybe you need too

People make it sound so easy.  “Oh, it must be nice to be able to work from home, so that you can take care of your baby!”  I mean, it is, and even I thought it would be easy before I actually had to do it.  But as it turns out, babies need a lot of attention.  Duh.  Gigantic understatement. 😛

You know what’s saved my life on numerous occasions?

Ack, I just realized in this picture it’s on the precipice of the futon.  It’s not usually that precarious, I swear!
Among other things, this Fisher Price rocker. (They’re not even paying me for this, either!  Although that is an Amazon affiliate link, for full disclosure.) Stephen pretty much lived in this for a while…he would only ever sleep in this, and couldn’t stand sleeping in the Pack and Play we had for him (he didn’t like lying flat, because he had reflux, and the rocking chair elevated him a bit).  Then I would just move the rocker into the studio for the day, park it next to my computer, and let him nap in there in between feedings and playtime.
What other baby gear do you need as a work-at-home mom?  Well, let me tell you:

Tired Mom Selfie!  I have tons of those. 😛
This, right here.  The ErgoBaby carrier has been a great thing to have too…I haven’t tried any other types of carriers or methods of babywearing, but this one works for me.  It took some getting used to, and I still find it hard to do anything that involves a lot of bending down with it on (laundry, loading dishwasher, etc.) but it gives me two-handed computer time!  
And I can also carry the baby in it while I’m using this handy thing…
Product photos from Amazon
Seriously.  At one point, I said to my husband, “you know, I don’t remember when the last time was that I made dinner NOT from the crock pot, do you?”  It’s really hard to cook anything labor-intensive with a baby.  And by labor-intensive, I mean that even these no-bake bars were kinda difficult to achieve (but I did achieve them, and they were delicious!).  But this makes things so easy!  If nothing else, I can throw in some chicken, a bottle of buffalo sauce, and then shred that and put it on buns with ranch, lettuce, and tomatoes, and you have buffalo chicken sandwiches.  Or put in some chicken and salsa, and bam, burrito filling.  Or take that same chicken and salsa, add some broth, canned beans, canned corn, and you have tortilla soup, just crumble some corn chips on top.  Simple.
I’ve also started making freezer-to-crock-pot meals, mostly from this post and some of her other ones like it.  Lifesaving.  The week before Stephen came home from the NICU, I made half a dozen meals, and those lasted us a couple months (well, freezer meals alternated with pizza or pre-made things from the grocery store like rotisserie chickens and bagged salads).  

Apparently babies like to look at high-contrast pictures with simple shapes at first.  So all that watercolory pastel nursery art (which I am guilty of making, too!) is not actually their preference of things to look at.  He seems to like this mobile with black and white pictures, though, and he can occupy himself with it for quite a while…and we have this “car seat gallery” of black and white cards too, and that’s just fun.

Stephen has two play mats, this one given by his aunt and another that was a hand-me-down from my husband’s coworker.  They’re awesome.  It’s fun to watch him go from just staring at the hanging-down toys, to reaching for them, and then kicking them.  His other play mat has inch measurements on it too, which is really cool, because you can see easily how “tall” he’s getting! (and his dad is 6’4″, I’m 5’7″…he’s gonna be tall.)

Sadly, Stephen has had just about every gastrointestinal ailment known to babykind.  I’m not sure if gripe water actually works, but it seems to, or at least it makes me feel better to be able to give it to him.  We had to take out the big guns and get a prescription medication for his reflux, though, but we still use this.  I just get the store brand at the grocery store, it’s less than half the price and it works just as well.

Before having a baby, I had thought burp cloths seemed silly.  Boy, was I wrong.  You really can never have too many. 
We have different colors of these pacifiers all over our house.  Seriously, everywhere.  These work better than other brands, for some reason.

I’ve admired Orla Kiely for a while now, and when I saw that she had a line of diaper bags at Target, I couldn’t resist this one.  I felt like I needed to get a fairly neutral-looking diaper bag, at least on the outside, for my husband’s sake. 😛 I wasn’t going to get one of those cutesy Vera Bradley-esque patterned ones, and chevrons are out of the question.  But this one has a cute green lining, which I like, and yet it still doesn’t embarrass my husband.  It’s a good compromise. 😉  

Forget about the Diaper Genie, man…that thing kinda creeps me out, anyway.  At the moment we’re just using a regular trash can with a lid, and if there’s a diaper that, er, is not very fresh-smelling…I just put them in one of these diaper bags.  It’s like the poop bags you bring to the dog park for your dogs!  Except for diapers!  I also do this whenever I need to change diapers in public so they don’t stink up the public bathroom trash. (Stephen, aren’t you so glad I’m posting this on the internet?  Ha ha…)
And on that note…
I’ve always liked the Mrs. Meyer’s products scents.  The lavender candle is an especially good nursery scent, I think, because it smells soothing, and these candles REALLY block out smells, in a way that not all candles do.  And when you’re working at home, you really want your environment to smell nice, since it’s the only place you go.  So thank you, Mrs. Meyer, whoever you are!

Now, on the other hand, here’s stuff that I had wanted/bought prior to baby-having that hasn’t worked or I haven’t needed:

  • the special anti-colic Dr. Brown’s bottles.  I don’t know why, but Stephen was just not able to eat out of these.  And there were too many darn little parts.
  • all the breastfeeding accouterments I got (pump; nursing bras; the bra maxi pad things to, y’know, prevent leakage; nipple creams; etc).  Well okay, they worked, but I ended up not needing them since I couldn’t breastfeed.  That really is a whole other post for a whole other time, since I have a lot of thoughts on this subject…well, at least I got some new, well-fitting bras out of the deal!
  • not one but TWO giant bottles of hand sanitizer.  Since they were so stringent about germs in the NICU (and for good reason!), I had thought I would be the hand sanitizer nazi when we got him home too.  That lasted about three days.
  • the eco-friendly Seventh Generation diapers.  I got some of these, but they smell weird (before being used, even!), and it’s turned out to be way more economical to just get the Costco store brand.  Wipes: ditto.
  • any sort of fancy soy or anti-colic formula.  Costco brand once again, baby!  Costs half as much, and apparently tastes just as good, I wouldn’t know.
  • bibs…maybe just because he isn’t on solid foods yet, but I haven’t needed ’em yet.
  • a fancy baby-food-making blender.  Again, he’s not on solids yet, but I have resisted the urge to go get a Nutribullet solely for baby food purposes. 

You know, to stay on the ostensible topic of this blog, I should do these lists for art supplies…god knows I’ve bought some useless (or absurdly single-purpose) art gadgets in my time, and also some really cool useful ones that I ended up using over and over again.  That’s a whooooole ‘nother post, though.

A new print site and some Valentiney goodness

One of the things I forgot to mention during my late-pregnancy scramble last year: I joined another print site!  It’s Boom Boom Prints, and here is my store on there.  It’s more geared towards families and kids, so in addition to t-shirts, shower curtains, tote bags, etc. like on Society6, they also have onesies, maternity t-shirts, lunch bags…they even have dog clothing.

You can get a purple cow onesie!  Isn’t that kind of the thing that’s always been missing from your life?
You could even, theoretically, get a portrait of your dog ON a dog shirt, and they can wear their own likeness, if you were so inclined!
DOGCEPTION!
I’ve been trying out a new style, which I’ll be rolling out onto Boom Boom Prints first, since it seems to fit there better…
Here’s an example:
It’s simple, but it looks really cool on t-shirts, bags, etc.!
I did this in the same way I did my “digital watercolors“/Eric Carle-esque pieces, putting the piece together with flat colors in Illustrator, and then bringing it into Photoshop to add the watercolor texture.  It’s fun, it lets me play with colors, and I can do this kind of art with a baby sitting on my lap and watching me do it!  It’s a win-win.
I have a St. Patrick’s Day one that I’ll be putting up on Boom Boom soon…the one problem with this site (and Society6) is that you have to make a different-sized image for each product you offer (shirts are one size, prints are another, duvet covers are another, pillows are another, etc.) so you have to paste your painting into like 20 different jpgs and pngs of different sizes.  So it takes a bit of time…but fortunately resizing the image is also something I can do while the baby “helps”!  
But I love the stuff that Boom Boom offers, the variety of products, and the general aesthetic of it.  So I’ll be working on bringing more of my pieces over there, and putting the pieces I already have there on more products.  
In the meantime, don’t you think this makeup case would be a cool Valentine’s Day gift?
It’s not a hint, really it’s not!

Inspired Monday: Itzchak Tarkay

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we were on a huge cruise ship (yeah, can’t afford to do that anymore, and wouldn’t want to with a baby!).  It almost literally had everything.  There was a bowling alley, a casino, tons of bars, pools, restaurants, an Irish pub, a theatre that showed Blue Man Group, a comedy club, an ice bar…and an art gallery.

And some HUGE chandeliers.
We spent an inordinate amount of time in the art gallery…they rotated paintings every few days, they showed Salvador Dali films, and, well, sometimes they had free wine.  But of course we also loved seeing the art, and being introduced to new artists by the very friendly and well-informed gallery staff, and that’s how I found out about Itzchak Tarkay.

This is a pretty typical Itzchak Tarkay painting:

images from Park West Gallery
They seem to often involve women in long, colorful skirts, sitting at tables in a cafe, and sometimes the ocean.

But not always!  He has some really cool landscapes, for instance…
I love the boldness of these pieces, the color sense (Tarkay said that he didn’t have any technique for choosing his colors, just that when he paints “the color is coming”), I really like the lighter colored linework in some of the skirts.  I don’t know, sometimes there’s just something about certain artists that appeals to you, maybe triggers a memory, maybe just makes you want to live in their world, but that’s how Tarkay is for me.
Maybe it’s just because I have happy memories associated with his paintings, and because the pieces themselves remind me of the Mediterranean cities we visited on our trip…
Image from ArtBrokerage.com
On the ship, they also had some of his watercolor studies up for auction, which I almost like better than the finished pieces…
Sometimes these come up on Ebay, but not for less than probably three of my mortgage payments. O_o The limited edition serigraphs they were selling of his on the ship were pricier than I could do, too, but we did go to an art auction, just to watch, and I stared covetously at them (and the amazing Nano Lopez sculptures…man).
However, after trolling Ebay for anything Tarkay-related, I was able to snag this beauty, and for not too much money either:
 It’s a serigraph (the signature is printed on too, it’s not actually hand-signed), and it’s HUGE.  It’s 16×20″, and I don’t know where I’m going to put it, or what I’m going to do for framing (I almost want to get this one professionally done…I usually do all my own framing and matting, but this maybe should have something special).  Love it, though!  Highly recommend Ebay for unusual art pieces…this may be old news to all of y’all, but I only just started using Ebay last year, and I’ve been kind of obsessed with using it to find weird stuff.
So although I’m almost running out of wall space for art in the house, I’m glad I have this.  It’ll go in my studio and not only inspire my painting, but remind me of my honeymoon. 🙂